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So, neither and nor

by Brian February 05, 2021

Do you get bored with English grammar sometimes? So do we!

Yes, believe it or not even the experts can find grammar quite boring occasionally. Maybe it depends on the day. You know those days when it’s hard to motivate yourself to study? Well, I have a suggestion. Repetition is the key to learning a language. So, instead of sitting down and reluctantly doing some vocabulary revision or grammar exercises, why not combine learning with some physical activity? Just write a few sentences in big writing on a piece of paper. Then stick the paper to a wall. Next, do some physical activity as you read and repeat the sentences! You can run on the spot while practicing the third conditional, do some squats while repeating relative clauses or do a bit of yoga while revising so, neither and nor! So next time you’re thinking “I’d rather watch paint dry than study English grammar” – get active!

So, neither and nor

We put the words so, neither or nor at the beginning of a sentence when someone makes a statement and we want to reply that the same situation is true for us or somebody else.

Positive statements – So

When someone makes a positive statement and we want to say that the same situation is true for us, we use the word so

For example, if someone says:

I would like some coffee

and you would also like some coffee, you can reply:

So would I

Notice that in this reply we use the auxiliary verb would.
We generally make these kind of replies by using the same auxiliary verb as the first speaker used.

Here are a few examples:

I can drive.
 – So can I.

I should go home now.
 – So should I.

I‘ll go to bed early.
 – So will I.

If the first speaker uses the verb to be without an auxiliary verb, we use the verb to be in the reply:

I’m hungry.
 – So am I.

I was late.
 – So was I.

If the first speaker uses a verb other than to be but without an auxiliary verb, we use do or did in the reply:

I love chips.
 – So do I.

I went to the cinema.
 – So did I.

If the first speaker uses the verb have we can use either have or do in the reply:

I have a cat.
 – So have I.
or
 – So do I.

I had a big breakfast.
 – So had I.
or
 – So did I.

Negative statements – Neither and Nor

When we want to reply to a negative statement because the same is true for us, we generally use the word neither in the reply. We can also use nor but neither is more common. We follow the same rules we use with so. As the words neither and nor are negative words, we use the positive form of the auxiliary verb.

For example:

I can’t swim.
 – Neither can I.

I won’t be there.
 – Nor will I.

With the verb to be we reply to a negative statement using neither or nor. For example:

I’m not happy.
 – Neither am I.

I wasn’t at home.
 – Neither was I.

Talking about a third person

We can also use so, neither and nor when referring to a third person. For example:

My brother can play the piano.
So can mine.

My dog smells awful.
 – So does mine.

Maria can’t speak English.
 – Neither can Jose.

Talking about two people

We can also use so, neither and nor structure when referring to two people in one sentence. For example:

My brother is very good at tennis and so is my dad.
Bill doesn’t like animals and neither does his wife.

Neither…nor..

We can also use the structure neither….nor… to refer to two people. For example:
Neither Bill nor his wife like animals.
Neither the Germans nor the Dutch play rugby.

So - Positive Statements

We use so when someone makes a positive statement and we want to reply that the same is true for us.

We use the auxiliary verb verb in the reply.

We use the structure so + auxiliary verb +subject in the reply.

Neither or Nor - Negative Statements

We use neither or nor when someone makes a negative statement and we want to reply that the same is true for us.

We use the auxiliary verb verb in the reply.

We use the structure neither/nor + auxiliary verb +subject in the reply.

Test Yourself

2

So, neither and nor

Test you knowledge of  So, Neither and Nor

1 / 12

We use so, neither and nor_______________.

2 / 12

We use 'so' when we reply to__________.

3 / 12

We use neither when we reply to ____________.

4 / 12

We use 'nor' when we reply to ___________.

5 / 12

I live in Dublin.

6 / 12

I hate spiders.

7 / 12

I don't eat meat.

8 / 12

I'm not going out tonight.

9 / 12

She drives to work.

10 / 12

Luigi is Italian.

11 / 12

My brother loves dogs and ___________.

12 / 12

Italian food is delicious and____________.

Your score is

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So, Neither and Nor video

Vocabulary

Reluctantly: to do something in a way that suggests you don’t want to do it

To combine: To mix two or more things together

Squats: A type of exercise for making your legs stronger

Idioms

On the spot: At a particular moment or place
Example: My room is too small to workout in, so I just run on the spot.

Watch paint dry: We use this idiom to suggest something is extremely boring
Example: Golf is so boring on TV. I’d rather watch paint dry!

Thank you for reading our post. You’ll find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our  online English courses, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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